In another unexplained twist to a time-honored Sandinista tradition, First Lady Rosario Murillo today announced that the annual Repliegue Táctico (the historic retreat to Masaya) will be held this Friday—instead of on the final Saturday of June—and will follow a new route from the one normally walked in years past.
Murillo said this year’s march will leave from the so-called “Plaza de las Victorias” (in front of the Princess Hilton) at 3 p.m. on Friday, and will follow the Carretera Masaya to Nindirí and then on to Monimbó, Masaya. The new march route will mean that the main highway into downtown Managua will be closed by police sometime early Friday afternoon. Expect traffic delays.
The Repliegue Táctico, one of the Sandinistas’ two biggest political rallies of the year, is a commemorative march from Managua to Masaya to honor the rebels and civilians who retreated to the “City of Flowers” in 1979 to regroup less than one month prior to the final offensive against the Somoza dictatorship. Though neither Ortega nor Murillo participated in the original Repliegue, the event has since become a celebration of their cult of personality, as the two walk down the street surrounded by a massive security detail and wave to supporters.
The annual march was traditionally held on the last Saturday of June, and always departed from Managua’s Mercado Huembes. This year, however, Murillo decided the event will be held on the first Friday of July and will follow a different route, supposedly to “affect as little as possible the commercial activity of the city.” (She failed to explain how the change to a busier weekday and a more heavily trafficked road would accomplish that objective.)
This year’s annual “tactical retreat” will also feature a Miss Chica Repliegue 2013 beauty pageant in Nindirí, where a dozen young girls will compete for a title to honor the victims who were bombed as they fled from the Somoza’s repressive National Guard 34 years ago.